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Problem properties with expired permits

Building officials are dealing with structures that have not been completed within a reasonable amount of time.  Many of these situations arise because of the financial problems of the owner or contractor and sometimes these projects are begun by weekend warriors who never have the time to finish the project.  Shorewood, Il. building inspector, David Meyers, shared the ordinance his town has used to try and deal with this problem:

1. New Construction Permits; Residential Dwelling Units:

a. All work must commence within six (6) months of the issue date of the permit. If work has not commenced within six (6) months, the general contractor may request that the original permit be extended by ninety (90) days. The request shall be made in writing and include an explanation for the delay. All extension requests should be submitted to the village administrator.

b. The dwelling unit is required to be completed and successfully pass a final inspection by the building inspector within twelve (12) months from the issue date of the permit. If the dwelling unit is not completed within twelve (12) months, then the permit applicant must reapply for a new permit. The reapplication cost will be based on fifteen cents ($0.15) per square foot of the dwelling unit.

Construction of the dwelling unit must be completed within two (2) years from the date the original permit was issued or court proceedings will commence.

2. Other Permitted Construction:

a. Additions to residential dwellings shall be completed within twelve (12) months. If work is not completed at this time, the applicant must reapply and pay a permit fee that is fifty percent (50%) of the original permit cost.

b. All permits, other than those listed in subsections C1 and C2a of this section, shall be completed within six (6) months of the time of issuance of the permit. If the work is not completed at that time, the permit holder must reapply for the permit at fifty percent (50%) of the original permit cost. (Ord. 98-894, 2-24-1998)

The above ordinance at least sets some limits on how long a building permit stays open.  When a project has an expired permit, I encourage inspectors to use the International Property Maintenance Code to address problems on the property.  This will usually inspire the owner or contractor to renew the permit and complete the project.  If this doesn’t work, we may have no choice but to file a demoliton suit so the unfinished structure does not remain an eyesore.

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